Israel – Palestine and the Gaza crisis ; and a reply to M Green and Joy Wolfe : January 19th 2008

This is partly on recent events in Israel and Palestine and partly a reply to two letters on the same subject by M Green and Joy Wolfe in the Herald newspaper replying to a letter I sent to the Herald newspaper in December 2007 (as the Herald decided not to print my reply to their replies).


Contents




Is Israel allowing enough food and medicines into Gaza to support the population?

M Green (Herald letters 28th December) claims that “Israel continues to supply power, fuel, medication and food to Gaza”.

True, Israel was (at the time M Green was writing) allowing some truckloads of these supplies into Gaza, but not nearly enough to provide the population with a healthy diet and hospitals with enough medicines as the UN’s World Food Programme and OCHA, as well as Oxfam, report (1), (2), (3), (4). Large numbers of children in Gaza have their growth stunted due to poverty and food shortages. A study in 2007 found 13% of Palestinian children in Gaza were stunted in their growth by malnutrition and that the rate had increased by 2% since 2005. Some Palestinian civilians are also dying due to shortages of medicines and Israeli forces’ refusal to allow the some of the most seriously ill through checkpoints (5), (6), (7). The numbers of trucks of supplies being allowed through have been cut to punish the entire population of Gaza for Hamas' refusal to agree to the Israeli pre-condition of formally recognising Israel before negotiations begin.

The Israeli government closed the border crossings with Gaza entirely from 19th to 21st January 2008, cutting off all supplies to the entire population until Palestinian armed groups’ rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza end (8), (9). The closure reduced Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel (though the rockets used mostly use fertiliser and sugar, not the diesel used by trucks and electricity generators in Gaza). However it also means civilians in Gaza with no involvement in terrorism and children too young to have any involvement in politics are dying as a result. Hospitals can't run any electrically powered equipment. There are shortages of food (aid agencies say they have enough food stockpiled but lack of fuel prevents aid agencies distributing it by truck) and vital medicines. People requiring medical treatment they can't get in Gaza are not allowed to leave to get it elsewhere. Closing the crossings entirely or limiting the amount of supplies going through them to an amount below that needed to support the population is as indiscriminate in who it kills as any rocket - and the aim is not just to stop rocket fire but to try to get Gazans to turn against the Hamas government they democratically elected in January 2006 due to the corruption of many Fatah officials who took much of the aid money meant for their people for themselves.

After criticism from the UN and humanitarian aid organisations the Israeli government announced an easing of the blockade, but this has merely restored the situation of shortages before the total closure.

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Is Hamas “resolutely committed to Israel’s destruction”?

M Green (Herald letters 28th December) claims that “ Hamas resolutely remains committed to Israel’s destruction ” and Joy Wolfe quotes Hamas’ military wing saying they want to destroy Israel.

The facts are that Hamas is divided with some factions favouring negotiations and others no compromise (though neither Hamas nor all Palestinian factions and their Syrian and Iranian allies together would have close to the military strength to destroy Israel, never mind Israel plus its ally the US, in any case).

Since it won the January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections Hamas has repeatedly offered negotiations and ceasefires including a hudna (a ceasefire lasting up to a decade) if Israeli settlers and soldiers withdraw from the West Bank as required by UN resolution 242 of 1967 (10), (11) , (12). Every Palestinian faction maintained several unilateral ceasefires brokered by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas between 2001 and 2006, some for several months at a time. Most were broken by continued Israeli military targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders, many of which also killed civilians as collateral damage (13), (14). In late December 2007 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejected proposals for negotiations on an unconditional ceasefire from the elected Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas (15), (16).

True, some factions in Hamas say they will never make peace with Israel, but a refusal to negotiate with relative moderates like Haniyeh strengthens the extremists and weakens the influence of the moderates.

Hamas, despite winning the legislative elections, formed a coalition with Fatah in February 2007 to try to get Israeli sanctions lifted; their armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, seeing this compromise secured no concessions from Israel, disowned their political leaders (17), (18), (19). Civil war between Fatah and Hamas resumed as a result). Olmert’s refusal of ceasefire negotiations ensure Hamas’ political leadership can’t regain influence over its military wing and Abbas can’t broker new ceasefires.

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Have all Palestinian leaders refused since 1948 to support a two state solution and refused to recognise Israel’s right to exist? ; and is it only Palestinians who have broken peace agreements?

Joy Wolfe (Herald letters 1st January) claims “the Palestinians” have refused since 1948 to support a two-state solution recognising Israel’s right to exist. This has a grain of truth in it but is untrue.

Palestinian leaders and Arab governments rejected UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 on the establishment of Palestinian and Jewish states in the British Mandate of Palestine (partly because it recommended 55% of the Mandate go to the Jewish state while Jews made up only 37% of the population and owned only 5% of the land). David Ben Gurion, the most influential of the Zionist Jewish settlers’ leaders, publicly agreed to the partition but privately prepared to annexe most of the Mandate. Some Zionist leaders (including future Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin rejected the partition and prepared to continue their terrorist campaign against British rule and for a Jewish state). By the end of the 1948 war Israeli forces had annexed 79% of the mandate (20), (21) . In the 1967 war Israel annexed even more of the former mandate and occupied the Gaza strip (previously Egyptian occupied but Palestinian populated) and the West Bank (previously Jordanian ruled, though Jordan granted Palestinians citizenship and considerably greater autonomy and democracy in the West Bank than Israel has in the occupied territories or than Egypt did in Gaza (22)).

Up until 1988 the PLO , including Arafat’s (and Abbas’) Fatah party refused to recognise Israel and called for its destruction and replacement by a bi-national secular democratic state in which Jews would be given citizenship (23).

The PLO adopted a two-state policy recognising Israel’s right to exist in 1988 and reaffirmed it in 1996, as recorded by histories such as those by Israeli historians including Avi Shlaim and the committed Zionist Benny Morris. Its true that the 1996 vote of the Palestinian National Council (the legislative body of the PLO) did not remove articles from the PLO constitution which call for the destruction of Israel , but it did declare them void and no longer in effect. Some in Fatah still saw the establishment of a Palestinian state in part of the former Mandate of Palestine as just a stepping stone to one in most or all of it – just like Ben Gurion and many of his successors. There are plenty of senior Israeli politicians and government ministers who still don't want to concede any territory for a Palestinian state either. That some on the Palestinian side only mkae tactical concessions does not mean they should have no right to any state any more than similar behaviour regarding a Palestinian state by Israeli governments and politicians should invalidate Israelis right to their own state (24), (25).

In March 2000 one hundred and twenty Palestinian political leaders, academics and writers wrote an open letter to the Israeli people calling for either a two-state solution based on the borders before the 1967 war or a bi-national democratic state (26).

As for Hamas it has never formally recognised Israel but in the 2006 election campaign did not mention the destruction of Israel as an aim once. Those of its leaders who favour negotiations will be strengthened if Israel shows they are willing to make concessions – the armed wing and extremists will continue to be in the ascendant if the choices offered to Hamas are unconditional surrender or sanctions and war. If Israel agrees to negotiations Hamas’ leaders might well be persuaded to recognise Israel in return for major concessions; they would be unable to retain any support among Palestinians if they didn’t secure major concessions for giving up their main negotiating card.

That’s apart from Israel’s refusal to allow any Palestinian state with real sovereignty to exist. The Oslo agreements which established the Palestinian Authority state that Israeli military law will continue to apply in most of the territory assigned to the Palestinian Authority and Israeli military forces can enter that territory and arrest Palestinians at will, while Palestinian courts and police have no jurisdiction over any Israeli soldier or settler. Israel has a veto over any proposed Palestinian Authority changes to the law in Palestinian territory. The Palestinian Authority has no control over its borders which remain controlled by Israeli and Egyptian forces. The majority of the West Bank’s water supplies continue to go to Israeli settlers under Oslo (27), (28).

Joy Wolfe claims that Palestinians alone broke peace agreements, yet on Israeli government figures between 1993 and 2005 the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank more than doubled (29), (30). Meanwhile UNOCHA and the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions report West Bank Palestinians and Israeli Bedouin Arabs face eviction and house demolitions (31), (32). Israeli targeted assassinations of Palestinians during ceasefires have already been mentioned. These assassinations often caused civilian deaths as collateral damage and sometimes led to revenge attacks by Palestinians – but these were often without the approval or knowledge of Hamas political leaders (see (13) and (14)).

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Giving up violence : Is it only Palestinian terrorists who target civilians?

As for ‘giving up violence’ as a pre-condition for talks this is fair enough – but why is no such pre-condition demanded from Israel? A ceasefire agreed on and held to by both sides is necessary for any negotiations to succeed. Both sides kill each others' civilians - and in both cases often deliberately or taking no care to avoid killing civilians.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reports Israeli forces military attacks killed over 600 Palestinians, over 300 of whom were civilians, in 2006 ; and over 300, of whom 131 were unarmed civilians, in 2007 (33). There have been over 2056 Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli forces since September 2000 compared to 705 Israelis killed by Palestinians on B’Tselem figures. (These figures are very conservative, not including 840 Palestinians who may or may not have been involved in hostilities when they were killed) (34), (35). Amnesty International and the UN report that in many cases Israeli forces commit war crimes by targeting or making no attempt to avoid killing Palestinian civilians in indiscriminate attacks (36), (37), (38). British journalists and doctors as well as Palestinians and Israeli soldiers attested in 2004 and 2005 to the Israeli military practice of ordering snipers to target unarmed civilians, including children, often without any provocation (39), (40), (41), (42), (43), (44).

There is no debate about the fact that Palestinian terrorists target Israeli civilians and indiscriminately fire rockets into Israeli towns and cities, for instance a Qassam Brigades sniper killed an Ecuadorian volunteer on a Kibbutz (collective farm) near Gaza recently, but its clear that the deliberate killing of civilians and indiscriminate fire killing civilians along with combatants are practises of both Israeli forces (with tanks, artillery and aircraft) and Palestinian armed groups (45). Neither can justify the other. One atrocity against civilian non-combatants can’t justify another.

In the recent offensive in Gaza Israeli forces for instance destroyed the house of a known or suspected Islamic Jihad militant with tanks killing him but also his elderly mother and his teenage sister, as well as wounding 6 other family members (46).

Three Palestinians civilians (a 13-year-old boy, his father and uncle) were killed on 16th January 2008 by an Israeli missile strike. The IDF admitted responsibility and regretted it as a targeting error. (46a)

In their air attack on the Palestinian Interior Ministry building in Gaza (abandoned for a year but in the middle of a residential area) the Israeli air forces killed one woman and injured 30 civilians. They said the attack was retaliation for Palestinian rocket attacks on the town of Sderot (47) .

During 2006 and 2007 in six Israeli military targeted assassinations of Palestinians accused of involvement in terrorism 35 civilians were killed in addition to their targets. In one case in 2002 Israeli aircraft dropped a one ton bomb on a block of flats where one suspect lived, killing 14 civilians (47a) . (The indiscriminate nature of these attacks is one issue - another is their illegality. Would it be acceptable to target Israeli members of government and the military suspected of war crimes for assassination?)

Due to Israel's much greater military strength far more Palestinian civilians are killed by Israeli forces than Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians. For instance rocket and mortar fire from Gaza in 2006, 2007 and up to January 22nd 2008 has killed 18 Israeli civilians according to Israeli government figures (though dozens more have been injured). All Palestinian terrorist attacks in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel killed 31 Israeli and foreign civilians altogether in the same period (just over 2 years). In the same period Israeli military attacks (mostly but not all on Gaza) killed at least 469 Palestinian civilians (out of 1062 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in total including armed militants or terrorists). So almost half the Palestinians killed by Israeli forces have been civilians (though that proportion has fallen to under a quarter in the current offensive so far). In the Israeli offensive in Gaza in December 2007 and up to 19th January 2008 (under 2 months) Israeli forces killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians in attacks in Gaza (as with Israeli casaulties several times more were injured). (33) , (35) , (36) , , (47b) , (47c), (47d)

The solution is to stop pretending either side has the moral high ground and simply accept Hamas' offers to negotiate.

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Kidnappings

Joy Wolfe claims Israeli forces are not involved in kidnapping. Tell that to the over 8,000 Palestinians (on Israeli figures) taken at gunpoint by Israeli forces and reported by BT’selem and Amnesty International to be held without a fair trial; many of them held for their political views and not involved in terrorism, including women and children (48), (49), (50), (51). There is currently one Israeli soldier kidnapped by Palestinian gunmen. He should be released. So should the thousands of Palestinians

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Palestinians applying for Israeli residency or citizenship

Mr. Green notes Palestinians applying for residency rights in Israel or Israeli citizenship. Who wouldn’t if the alternative was risking food shortages, having your house demolished, being denied medical treatment or shot? ; and how many applications are accepted? (see (31) and (32) on reports from the UNOCHA and the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions)

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The Gaza Siege and Offensive : What are its aims and how should the US and UK respond?

Israeli Defence Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dor claimed Israel’s offensive in Gaza is justified in order to make Palestinians endure the same fear felt by Israelis in Sderot, where several people have been killed by Palestinian rockets. This is exactly the same immoral justification given by the Palestinian armed groups for firing rockets indiscriminately that may kill Israeli civilians: they want Israeli civilians to suffer what Palestinians suffer. (The spokesman also said Palestinians in Gaza were “living life as usual”, omitting to mention that “usual” for Gazans has meant military attacks by Israeli forces – and for the last two years food and medicine shortages) (52).

Palestinian terrorist or armed groups' rocket attacks on Israeli civilians are not justified - but it can't be justifiable to punish the entire population of Gaza, most of whom arent involved in terrorism, for the actions of a few either. Reducing (and now completely cutting off) supplies of food and medicines to the whole population is wrong and costs civilian lives too. Indiscriminate fire by Israeli forces in Gaza such as the "targeted assassination" in which Israeli tanks killed or wounded the entire family of an Islamic Jihad militant (see 46) can't be justified either. Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas is the democratically elected Palestinian Prime Minister just as much as Ehud Olmert is the democratically elected Israeli Prime Minister.

Olmert should accept Haniyeh's repeated offers of negotiations and combine these negotiations with those already taking place with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. Hamas is linked to terrorism but Olmert as Prime Minister has ordered war crimes. Rather than pretend one side or the other is entirely in the right or wrong the important thing is to negotiate a peace that can last. No side involved has a moral high ground from which it can justify not negotiating with the others as civilians on both sides are killed and injured.

Olmert seems to think undermining Hamas’ political leaders by punishing the entire population of Gaza is a clever tactic. If he actually wants peace rather than just to divide and conquer it would be much smarter to begin negotiations with Hamas’ political leaders to restore their authority over the Qassam brigades and allow a ceasefire. Abbas similarly seems to have lost control of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ brigade, the military wing of his Fatah party.

Does Israel’s government want peace or to ensure the continuance of an unequal war which they knows they’ll always win?

What could be better calculated to make negotiations fail than refusing to negotiate except with a party which no longer has the majority support among Palestinians and then starting a military offensive in Gaza just as negotiations begin?

The British government should not be following the Israeli policy of punishing the whole population of Gaza by cutting aid. They should put pressure on the Israeli government, which, as the side with far greater military strength and backing from most foreign governments, has felt no need to make enough concessions to get the support of the majority of Palestinians for a deal. The U.S government, which gives Israel massive financial aid and arms sales every year, could exert influence by with-holding some or all of these, as President Bush Senior did in 1992, resulting in Yitzakh Shamir’s government losing the next election to Yitzakh Rabin and the 1993 Oslo Accords being signed (53).

Olmert, faced with criticism from demagogues like Leiberman and Netanyahu, might even welcome pressure from other governments allowing him to make concessions without losing his majority in Israel’s Knesset (54).

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copyright © Duncan Malcolm McFarlane 2008

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Sources and notes

(1) = = UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs 13 Dec 2007, ‘Closure of the Gaza Strip - Economic and humanitarian consequences - OCHA Special Focus report’, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/eed216406b50bf6485256ce10072f637/da738e9487443bf4852573b5004efdc2!OpenDocument ; (or go to http://domino.un.org , click on ‘subject’ and then ‘Food’ or ‘Gaza strip’) Back

(2) = UNOCHA IRIN news 6 Dec 2007 , ‘ISRAEL-OPT: Only 41 percent of Gaza's food import needs being met’, http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=75726 (quotes World Food Programme statistics in 1st paragraph) Back

(3) = Oxfam 25 June 2007, ‘Oxfam condemns the caging of Gaza : International agency calls for immediate opening of border’, http://www.oxfam.org.uk/applications/blogs/pressoffice/2007/06/oxfam_condemns_the_caging_of_g.html ; Back

(4) = Oxfam Press Release 21 Nov 2007, ‘Gaza siege puts public health at risk as water and sanitation services deteriorate, warns Oxfam’, http://www.oxfam.org/en/news/2007/pr071121_gaza_public_health ; Back

(5) = UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘The Humanitarian Monitor ; occupied Palestinian territories , Number 19, November 2007’, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/eed216406b50bf6485256ce10072f637/822197eaeb31b481852573b5004e4d4d!OpenDocument (or go to http://domino.un.org , click on ‘subject’ and then ‘Food’ or ‘Gaza Strip) ; see final paragraph under heading ‘Death of 10 Patients following Delays in Obtaining Permits to Cross Erez’ Back

(6) = The Independent 01 August 2007 ‘Under siege: drug shortage 'is killing patients in Gaza '’, http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2823095.ece ; Back

(7) = Guardian 27 Nov 2007, ‘Sick are in the frontline as supplies and hope drain away for isolated Gazans’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2217567,00.html ; Back

(8) = Guardian Unlimited Friday January 18, 2008 , 2.30pm GMT update ‘Israeli air strike 'destroys Gaza ministry'’ , Allegra Stratton and agencies, http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,332120993-103552,00.html Back

(9) = Haaretz 18 Jan 2008, ‘Abbas accuses Hamas of 'destroying our national aspirations'’, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/946040.html (9)

(10) = Telegraph 09 Feb 2006 Hamas offers deal if Israel pulls out, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/02/09/wmid09.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/02/09/ixworld.html ;Back

(11) = Guardian 22 Jun 2006 ‘Climbdown as Hamas agrees to Israeli state’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1803184,00.html ; Back

(12) = Guardian 1 Nov 2006 ‘Hamas touts 10-year ceasefire to break deadlock over Israel ’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1936443,00.html Back

(13) = Reinhart, Tanya (2006) , ‘The Roadmap to Nowhere : Israel/Palestine since 2003’, Verso Books , Chapters 1 and 4 (the late Tanya Reinhardt, who died in 2006, was an Israeli Professor of Linguistics and former student of Noam Chomsky. Her book quotes Israeli media sources extensively.) ; Back

(14) = Marwan Bishara ‘End the Cycle of Retaliation’, International Herald Tribune 30 Jan 2006 , http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/06/30/opinion/edbishara.php (Marwan Bishara, a Palestinian writer and editorialist, is a lecturer at the American University of Paris and the author of Palestine/Israel: Peace or Apartheid) ; Back

(15) = Ynet news (Israel) 22 Dec 2007, ‘Report: Hamas weighing unconditional truce with Israel’, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3485394,00.html ; Back

(16) = International Herald Tribune 23 Dec 2007, ‘Israel rejects Hamas request for cease-fire talks’, http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/23/africa/hamas.php; Back

(17) = BBC News 9 Feb 2007 , ‘Palestinian rivals in unity deal’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6344297.stm; Back

(18) = NPR 18 Mar 2007, ‘Israel Rejects Palestinians' Unity Deal’, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=8983689; Back

(19) = International Herald Tribune 21 July 2006, ‘Gaza militants don't follow Hamas political leadership’, http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/21/news/hamas.php ;Back

(20) = Shlaim, Avi(2000) ‘The Iron Wall – Israel and the Arab World’ , Penguin, London , 2000 (paperback) pages 23,25, 27-29, 47 ; Back

(21) = Morris, Benny(1999) ‘Righteous Victims – A History of the Arab Israeli Conflict’ , John Murray, London , 2000 (hardback) page 138 In 1936 Ben Gurion said “A Jewish state in part of Palestine is not an end but a beginning” ; Irgun and Stern Gang terrorism p147, 161, 173-176, 197 ; Back

(22) = Roy, Sara (2007), ‘Failing Peace : Gaza and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’ Chapter 11 and especially p128-143 ; Back

(23) = Morris, Benny (1999), ‘Righteous Victims : A History of the Arab-Zionist Conflict’ , John Murray, New York , Chapter 12 , pages 606-608 ; Back

303,365,606

(24) = Morris, Benny (1999), ‘Righteous Victims : A History of the Arab-Zionist Conflict’ , John Murray, New York , Chapter 12 , pages 606-608 ; Back

(25) = Shlaim, Avi (2000) , ‘The Iron Wall : Israel and the Arab World’, Penguin paperback, 2000, chapter 12, page 466 ; Back

(26) = Philo, Gregg & Berry, Mike (Glasgow University Media Group) (2004), ‘Bad News From Israel’, Pluto Press, London, 2000, page 82, citing Haaretz newspaper (Israel) 13th March 2000 ; Back

(27) = AGREEMENT ON THE GAZA STRIP AND THE JERICHO AREA May 4, 1994 See e.g Article V, Clause 1 b, Article VI Clause2 & Article VII on the government of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website http://www.israel.org/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Agreement+on+Gaza+Strip+and+Jericho+Area.htm ; Also see Shehadeh, Raja (1994), ‘Questions of Jurisdiction: A Legal Analysis of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement’, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Summer, 1994), pp. 18-25 cited in Roy, Sara (2007), ‘Failing Peace : Gaza and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’ p 156 ; Back

(28) = Finkelstein, Norman G. (2003) 'Image and Reality of the Palestinian Conflict' (2nd Edition), Verso, London and New York, 2003 , chapter 7 "The Apartheid Option" (pages 172-184) Also see http://www.duncanmcfarlane.org/Israel-Palestine/Oslocharade/ ; Back

(29) = BBC News 31 March 2004, ‘Settlement block on road to peace’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2962028.stm ; (4th last paragraph reads ‘Since the 1993 Oslo peace accords, the number of Jewish settlers has increased by 70% - from 125,000 to 200,000 - not counting the 200,000 Israelis living in 11 settler quarters in East Jerusalem, according to official figures.’) ; Back

(30) = Washington Times 24 Aug 2007, ‘West Bank Settlers Diverse’ http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070824/FOREIGN/108240049/1003 ,(2nd last line on 1st page reads ‘According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, the settler population in the West Bank has grown at a clip of 5.45 percent a year to about 275,000’); Back

(31) = UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘The Humanitarian Monitor ; occupied Palestinian territories , Number 19, November 2007’, http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/eed216406b50bf6485256ce10072f637/822197eaeb31b481852573b5004e4d4d!OpenDocument (or go to http://domino.un.org , click on ‘subject’ and then ‘House demolitions) ; Then see 4th paragraph under sub-heading ‘At-Risk of Forced Displacement in the West Bank’); Back

(32) = Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions 12 Dec 2007, ‘Holiday Greetings” – Massive Home Demolitions in the Israeli Negev’, http://www.icahd.org/eng/news.asp?menu=5&submenu=1&item=518 ; Back

(33) = B’Tselem Press Release 31 Dec 2007, ‘131 Palestinians who did not participate in the hostilities killed by Israel's security forces in 2007’, http://www.btselem.org/english/Press_Releases/20071231.asp ; Back

(34) = B’Tselem statistics – fatalities, http://www.btselem.org/english/Statistics/Casualties.asp ; Back

(35) = Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs , ‘Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism since September 2000’, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Palestinian+terror+since+2000/Victims+of+Palestinian+Violence+and+Terrorism+sinc.htm ; Back

(36) = Amnesty International Report 2007 ; ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES, http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Regions/Middle-East-and-North-Africa/Israel-and-the-Occupied-Territories , “Israeli forces carried out frequent air and artillery bombardments against the Gaza Strip, often into densely populated refugee camps and residential areas. Some 650 Palestinians, half of them unarmed civilians and including some 120 children, were killed by Israeli forces.” ; Back

(37) = BBC News Online 23 Feb 2007 , ‘UN envoy hits Israel 'apartheid'’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6390755.stm ; Professor John Dugard, in his report in February2007,condemned war crimes by Islamic Jihad against Israeli civilians, along with Israeli military attacks on Palestinians in 2006 which were “grossly disproportionate and indiscriminate” involving “multiple war crimes” ; Back

(38) = UN Human Rights Council 29 Jan 2007 ; Fourth session Item 2 of the provisional agenda ; IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 60/251 OF 15 MARCH 2006 ENTITLED “HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL” ; Advance Edited Version ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard’, page 3 , http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/4session/A.HRC.4.17.pdf ; The summary of Dugard’s report (page 3)states : “Persons responsible for committing war crimes by the firing of shells and rockets into civilian areas without any apparent military advantage should be apprehended or prosecuted. This applies to Palestinians who fire Qassam rockets into Israel; and more so to members of the IDF who have committed such crimes on a much greater scale. While individual criminal accountability is important, the responsibility of the State of Israel for the violation of peremptory norms of international law in its actions against the Palestinian people should not be overlooked.” ; (or see UN Human Rights Council 8 Jun 2007 ; Fourth session Item 2 of the provisional agenda ; IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 60/251 OF 15 MARCH 2006 ENTITLED “HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL” ; ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard’, http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=91 (click on ‘E’ for PDF version of document in English) ; Back

(39) = Guardian 20 May 2004 , ‘Palestinian doctors despair at rising toll of children shot dead by army snipers’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,4928224-103552,00.html ; Back

(40) = Guardian 28 Jun 2005, ‘Snipers with children in their sights’ , http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1516362,00.html ; Back

(41) = BT’Selem eyewitness testimonies – IDF soldier shoots and kills a 14 year-old boy playing with his friends, in Tubas, north of Nablus, January 2005 - witness Abu Muhsen - http://www.btselem.org/english/Testimonies/20050120_Salah_Abu_Muhsen_Shot_to_Death_in_Tubas_witness_Abu_Muhsen ; Back

(42) = Summerfield, Derek ‘Palestine – The Assault on Health and Other War Crimes’, British Medical Journal 16 October 2004 , http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/329/7471/924?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Derek+Summerfield+Palestine&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX ; Back

(43) = Guardian 6 Sep 2005, ‘Israeli troops say they were given shoot-to-kill order’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1563476,00.html ; Back

(44) = Guardian 6 Sep 2005, ‘Israeli soldiers tell of indiscriminate killings by army and a culture of impunity’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1563255,00.html ; Back

(45) = The Independent 09 Nov 2006 , ‘Gaza children cannot escape as Israel mounts its bloodiest attack in months’, http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1962692.ece ( In one example in November 2006 eighteen Palestinians from one family, mostly women and children, were killed by Israeli artillery fire on Beit Hanoun in the Gaza strip. This was supposedly counter-fire to try to hit Palestinians who had fired rockets across the border into Israel. Yet even the Israeli military admitted the house hit was no-where near the co-ordinates the rocket fire came from. As usual the Israeli military claimed Palestinian terrorists, by firing from built-up areas, were forcing them to fire on areas containing civilians. Yet if this argument was accepted it would be equally wrong for the Israeli military to have bases in Israeli cities and fire from near them – as it routinely does) ; Back

(46) = Guardian Unlimited Thursday January 3, 2008, 12.15p.m update Allegra Stratton and agencies Thursday January 3, 2008, ‘Israel steps up Gaza strikes’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2234547,00.html ; Back

(46a) = Ynet News (Israel) 16 Jan 2008, ‘3 civilians killed in IDF strike in Gaza’, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3495008,00.html ; Back

(47) = Haaretz 18 Jan 2008, ‘Abbas accuses Hamas of 'destroying our national aspirations'’, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/946040.html; Back

(47a) = Haaretz 20 Jan 2008, ‘State to review 2007 IDF assassinations in Gaza, W. Bank’, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/946320.html; Back

(47b) = Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) March 2007 ‘Anti-Israeli Terrorism, 2006: Data, Analysis and Trends’, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/terrorism_2006e.pdf , Part III, Section D. , p62-63; Back

(47c) = Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC)16th December 2007, 'Rocket threat from the Gaza Strip, 2000-2007', http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Terror+Groups/Rocket%20threat%20from%20the%20Gaza%20Strip%202000-2007 ; Back

(47d) = AP 19 Jan 2008 'Israel Closes Vital Gaza Crossings', http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jD4YSkDPlclqd9dHvg2f0Ij18zEgD8U8GE2O0 , 7th paragraph says 10 Palestinian civilians killed by current Israeli offensive in Gaza so far; Back

(48) = B’TSelem statistics – detainees and prisoners - Statistics on Palestinians in the custody of the Israeli security forces , Year 2007, http://www.btselem.org/english/statistics/Detainees_and_Prisoners.asp; Back

(49) = Amnesty International 13 Jul 2007 , 'Israel and the occupied territories : Administrative Detention', http://web.amnesty.org/pages/isr-action-detention ; Back

(50) = B’Tselem ‘Administrative detention’ http://www.btselem.org/english/Administrative_Detention/Occupied_Territories.asp ; Back

(51) = Amnesty International's 2007 annual report on Israel and the occupied territories (covering 2006) http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Regions/Middle-East-and-North-Africa/Israel-and-the-Occupied-Territories The report says that: “Trials of Palestinians before military courts often did not meet international fair trial standards, with allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees inadequately investigated. Hundreds of Palestinians were held in administrative detention without charge or trial; more than 700 were being held at the end of the year.” (so many of those given a trial rather than held in administrative detention weren’t given fair trials) ; Back

(52) = Guardian Unlimited Friday January 18, 2008 , 2.30pm GMT update ‘Israeli air strike 'destroys Gaza ministry'’ , Allegra Stratton and agencies, http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,332120993-103552,00.html; Back

(53) = Brzezinski, Zbigniew (2007) ‘Second Chance : Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower’, Basic Books, New York, 2007, page 75 ; Back

(54) = Guardian 17 Jan 2008, ‘Rightwingers quit, weakening Olmert majority’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2241938,00.html; Back

copyright © Duncan Malcolm McFarlane 2008

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